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Shinzo Abe, the heir apparent June 8, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Japan, Politics.

I'm seeing comments in the wild west of the Japanese internet that is 2ch.net, the lawless mega BBS, that there are reports in a Korean newspaper controlled by the Unification Church that a congratulatory telegram was sent by Shinzo Abe in an official capacity to a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Fukuoka. The Unification Church is of course led by the Reverend Moon, and is thought by many to be a religious cult. Kikko, the anonymous blogger who shot to fame for reporting the Huser scandal and details of investigations into Horie/Livedoor and others, also mentions this in her blog. (If there are an Korean readers who would like to confirm or otherwise that such an article ran on the May 14th in the Korean Segye Ilbo I'd be much obliged)

There were links to a photo of Moon and Abe's grandfather, ex-PM Kishi, looking pretty friendly as well. Although the site which hosts this photo appears to rant on about some Jewish-led conspiracy aimed at global domination, the photo is probably genuine, given Kishi's documented familiarity with the Unification Church.

The Moonies are right up there with the SGI in terms of there penchant for promoting their great leaders by paying famous people to come and meet them, in exchange for a handsome speaker's fee.

Abe, who positions himself as a Japanese neo-con hawk and political thoroughbred, probably doesn't expect the Japanese media to report his apparent support of the Moonies. I suspect he is right.

Abe seems to be the favourite to take over after Koizumi steps down. His apparent confirmation of ties to the Moonies sends a message that he is cut from the same cloth as his grandfather, who happened to be a WW2 class A war criminal "suspect", who was released by MacArthur after the ceremonial execution of 7 of his fellow suspects who were indicted and found guilty of war crimes.

One could take the view that Kishi was not indicted because he was not found to have committed any war crimes. The Tokyo war crimes trials was as much (if not much more) political theatre as a trial to bring criminals to justice. Certainly, the main characters who led Japan to war had to be punished. However, even the peripheral characters were involved enough that they should not have been released without indictment, seeing they ordered so many young Japanese men to their deaths on the battlefields, and were also responsible for the deaths of soldiers and civilians of other nations, and ultimately also Japanese civilians who died during the war.

There is evidence to suggest that Kishi and others (notably Yoshio Kodama and Ryoichi Sasagawa) struck a bargain with their captors, and with the US government, who saw Japan as a vital barrier to stem the spread of communism. With strong nationalist, anti-communist views, Kishi was a perfect pawn.

Kodama and Sasagawa are known as having supported the Unification Church, and Kishi has shown support for the Unification Church as well. The Unification Church and Rev. Moon were also pawns in the "fight against communism", so it could be argued that Kishi's involvement with the church was not because he shared their views, but because they were seen to be an ally in the fight against communism.

However, it is clear that Moon had and continues to have considerable ties to communist North Korea. Which begs the question, why is Abe, who makes hawkish noises about North Korea in the media, cozying up to a Church which is suspected of sending money to the North Korean regime? This is the same Abe who is pro-US and on good terms with the US neo-cons who hold court under George W Bush. 

Should the Japanese be supporting leaders who are willing to put other interests ahead of those of the nation they claim to represent? (ie other nations' interests or interests of a subset of the nation to the detrement of the nation as a whole) I think not. I am all for freedom of religion. However I think religious beliefs should be a matter of public record, after all should would we be comfortable with, say, a closet Aum/Aleph sympathiser as prime minister? I for one am not comfortable with politicians who fraternise with "religious groups" which have a history of coercing and manipulating its "followers". 

One of the fundamental problems is that the media on the whole fails to cover politics and current affairs adequately, especially with regards to foreign and religious affairs (partly perhaps because such powers have successfully infiltrated or bought out many of the major media outlets – it is a sad state of affairs when the most interesting investigative journalism in a country is done by magazines which feels the need to include pornographic images to attract readers)
On a related note: Japan must surely be the only "developed" nation (insert free-market/democratic or whatever for developed if you think it is inappropriate) which has as a political party in its ruling coalition which is the political wing of a religious organisation which is outlawed in a fellow developed democratic nation as a religious cult.  



1. yoichi shimatsu - July 19, 2006

The Unification Church connexion is certainly there through 3 generations of the Kishi-Abe dynasty. (The underlying relationship probably has deeper roots in the colonial days that go back to when when Unification founder Kim Jong-Pil, head of South Korean intel and former PM in Seoul) was still a teenager.) Kobe in the 1980s was a beehive of Moonie front companies, notably those led by one Hayakawa of subway notoriety, and some intriguing science research down on the waterfront with exotic technologies acquired from the Soviet Union. This was all part of the Aum story we tracked back in 1995-96.
— Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of Japan Times Weekly and consultant to Takarajima.

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